Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hermosa Beach

This is probably the last of my US travelogues...

Since I had a 9 hour stopover at LAX on the way home, I decided to do something more productive than just sitting in the airport lounge. There were not many options. Earlier I had entertained the thought of dropping by Malibu or Hollywood, but alas, Jessica Alba said she wasn't free to pick me up from the airport, so I had to do the next best thing: take the bus. Well, there was another fella who offered to take me on a "tour" of LA. He came up to me at the arrival hall, amid the chaotic crowd, and started speaking in Mandarin, the very biao jun
tongue-rolling thick accent type. I guessed he was from Taiwan. Anyway, I probably looked every bit the traveler on transit, so he offered to take me on a quick tour around LA. He said we could go to Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Mann's Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, and a number of other famous landmarks. But I was getting suspicious. He didn't look like an authorized tour guide. Finally I asked him how much. He charged per hour... $35 per hour, minimum 3 hours. Negotiable. I said maybe I'll think about it, and promptly went downstairs to look for directions to the bus.

Destination : Hermosa Beach, about 10 miles south of the airport. Hermosa means "beautiful" in Spanish. Hermosa Beach is sandwiched between Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Bus fare: $1.

The bus station

LAX is a very busy airport. At one point, I saw five planes all queuing up to land, just minutes apart. The bus driver said he once counted 12 planes lining up in the sky to land. No margin for error.

The Pacific Ocean at the end of the road lined with expensive beach villas

The bus driver told me that these little ocean-view houses cost > $1 million.

The first thing I saw when I got down from the bus

The beachfront promenade called The Strand. The sea is more than 100m away.

The Strand at Hermosa Beach

A statue in memory of some surfer dude who contributed much to the development of Hermosa Beach


Hermosa Beach pier.
I would have walked to the end if not for the fact that I had all my luggage with me. I probably looked like a fish out of water. All the folks around me were in their beach attire, and there I was, towing my wheelie suitcase. There is no luggage storage service at LAX, coz they are afraid people might leave bombs behind. There were a few companies that provided the service of collecting your luggage and taking it off-site for storage, and bringing it back to the airport when you called them. All for $10 per piece of luggage. But I figured that was too much of a hassle.

Hermosa Beach is the beach volleyball capital of LA. I saw more than two dozen courts set up on the beach, which was really wide.

My dinner of swordfish pasta, at Scotty's

I took some shots while waiting for the last bus at 8PM. If I missed this bus, I would have had to take a taxi, which would have done some serious damage to my wallet.

Can you see me?

Since I was the only passenger on the half-hour ride back to the airport, Kevin the bus driver and I had an interesting time chatting about stuff... he asked me about my camera, I asked him about the Governator. Kevin said life wasn't easy in LA. The cost of living has gone up, gas (petrol) prices have gone up, property prices have skyrocketed, but salaries remain the same, and many double income couples are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Back at the airport bus station

Back at the terminal

A bunch of Taiwanese high school students going home after some sort of field trip to LA. Same flight as me, since we were stopping in Taipei.

Taking off into the moonlit night


ge said...

wah, the moon shot is incredible!! how often does one get that kinda shot? :) cool...
glad you had a good time and thank you for sharing it :)

Regarding your rhetoric question on xanga :), probably best to ask the man himself during one of those bsf evenings under the light of the lamp post ;)

HL said...

Yea, that moon shot is a once-in-a-very-long-while shot.

Rhetoric questions, by definition, do not need to be answered. :P